In a world where we’re growing more and more desensitized to stimuli, it’s important that we learn to truly appreciate the things that push our five senses. Thanks to our hand-held computers in the form of mobile phones, everything just seems so milquetoast.
It’s a shame, really. There are so many beautiful things to behold.
When it comes to automobiles, it’s rare that you come across something that affects your five senses. Character in today’s vehicles is sorely lacking. Even in today’s exotics, it’s getting harder to find that certain something that makes enthusiasts’ hearts beat a little faster. Well, that’s unless you’re driving a Lamborghini.
This neatly brings us to our subject, the Aventador Roadster. Painted a very metallic orange with doors that reach for the sky when opened, it’s the antithesis of what’s wrong with the automotive industry today. Hugging the ground and standing short in stature, its styling is more akin to a bobsled than an automobile. Except the Lamborghini has many more hard angles that will make anyone’s mother immediately say “Wow, it looks like the Batmobile.” When it’s painted matte black, I agree.
To say it is stimulating to your vision is an understatement. Driving through New York and New Jersey’s busy thoroughfares it’s obvious that the Aventador is the star of the show. Its flamboyant styling demands attention and, in some cases, it gets more than its fair share. It was common for other drivers to follow me in the raging bull. Clearly, the sight box is checked.
Getting better situated in the cabin quickly overloads your system. That’s because once you close the scissor door and become comfortable in the black seats with a contrasting orange stitch, it’s readily apparent that this is far from anything else on the road. The windshield is severely raked and pushed out in front of you, the side windows are tiny, and the view out the rear glass is minimized. And then there’s the aroma of rich leather. Adorning just about everywhere you can conceive, the use of hide to cover the cockpit is extensive. Smell, check.
Designed with a raised and raked center stack, it makes those times you have to take your hands off the wheel far more convenient. That’s because the controls are quite literally at your fingertips. Though this Lamborghini’s infotainment setup is a repurposed Audi MMI system, something tells me you will not fumbling around worrying about the car’s settings too long. That’s because the Aventador demands the driver’s attention and, frankly, who cares about all the menus and settings when you’ve got a symphony over your shoulder?
Most likely buyers will be only concerned with several switches. Two toggle the vehicle’s driving mode. Though you start off in Strada, which is like a stroll in the park, we’re pretty sure you’ll dial it up to Sport almost immediately—the vehicle gets, overall, sharper and the exhaust opens up. Corsa is the most hard-edged setting and requires some bravery as it provides, shall we say, a more dynamic driving experience. In other words, it will let the car do a little slip and slide.
The last button though is yet another reminder that you’re piloting something special. That’s because it’s the engine’s Start/Stop button. Hidden under a gleaming red protector, it makes you feel as though you’re a fighter pilot firing up an F-16. Once you flip it up and press down you hear what equates to a lion’s roar. Touch is more than covered.
So, what’s it like to awaken the beast?
After you depress the world’s loudest button, the naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12 engine fires to life. It makes sure you, and your neighbors, know it too. If you’re standing behind the vehicle, peering through the glass slats that somewhat covers the engine, you’ll quickly note the immense heat that this engine emits. Hey, 700 horsepower and about 510 lb.-ft. of torque comes with a price.
Paired with this mill is a seven-speed, single-clutch transmission that Lamborghini developed. Although many of today’s supercars employ dual-clutch gearboxes, Lamborghini decided this was a better alternative to save weight and provide a more engaging driving experience. Over the years the Aventador has come under fire for having rough shifts, but if you learn to adapt to the system by simply feathering the throttle, as you do with a traditional manual car, it is livable. It takes some getting used to in order to smooth out gearshifts, but that’s the whole point. Thanks to this unique setup, gear changes happen in 50 milliseconds and zero to 60 arrives in about three seconds.
Undoubtedly, the best part about the Aventador is this V12’s sound. It is unlike anything you’re likely to come across on the road today. It’s a high-pitched scream that echoes against the artificial canyon walls made up by New York City’s skyscrapers and can be heard for blocks if you’re driving around suburbia. Whether you’re cruising at 3,000 RPM or about to bounce off this Lamborghini’s 8,250 redline, the noise is an utter delight.
I am sure the Aventador has a more than capable sound system but I wouldn’t know. I didn’t turn it on. Rather, I lowered the rear windscreen and let the V12 soundtrack invade the cabin. Sound is more than taken care of here.
What you may find a bit perplexing in a street car is Lamborghini’s decision to use some seriously hardcore racing technology for its suspension setup. Rather than going conventional, the Italians decided to deliver the Aventador with a pushrod suspension. While there’s plenty to talk about, I will keep it brief. Essentially, this is technology passed on from Formula 1 racecars. What you need to know is that this means the Roadster is sharper, more lively and wickedly stiff. This can be a good or a bad thing. If you’re using the car on the motorway, it rides like a dream. If you’re in a more urban situation, it’s a bit more difficult.
I was advised it would not be a brilliant idea to take the car into the urban jungle that is New York City. However, I did it anyhow. I just had to know how it would fair out.
Honestly, I didn’t find it overtly uncomfortable or jarring. It’s not a luxury car, that’s for sure, but it was everything you’d expect in a vehicle that’s essentially a race car for the street. Long story short, it’s doable.
This speaks to a key point about this particular Lamborghini. Unlike the Huracan, which can be used as a daily driver, the Aventador is a more purpose-built vehicle. It’s purpose, you ask? It was created solely to entertain whether that’s for you, your passenger or all of the onlookers you encounter.
If you take an Aventador out for a weekend drive and you put it through some corners, it’s impossible not to have a smile on your face. Between the raw speed and the high-pitched V12 squeal, it just hits on all the right notes.
Then you take its roof off and the real fun begins. The two separate pieces are released via two latches behind the two setbacks and they neatly stow in the trunk, which is up front. While the Aventador Roadster feels exactly like a coupe with the roof in use, it’s infinitely better when you take it off. With the wind in your hair and a blaring exhaust note, it’s unlike anything else on the road today.
At this point you must be wondering what happened to the fifth sense: Taste. Well, this one’s a bit difficult if I am honest. You could lick the Aventador though I don’t think it will be as satisfactory as the other senses. But, hey, four out of five isn’t bad!
Richard Posluszny is a freelance writer based in Bergen County.